Diana 23: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 23
Diana 23.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • RWS Hobby
  • Sights are off
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • RWS Superpoints
  • H&N Match Green
  • Discussion
  • Summary
  • One last thing

Today we look at the accuracy of Diana 23. I sure hope she’s accurate!

It took me half an hour to set up the range indoors, so I wanted to make this count.

The test

I shot the rifle from a sandbag rest at 10 meters. I used the artillery hold and did not test anything else. I rested the rifle on my off hand that was back almost touching the triggerguard. The stock is a little short to allow me to treat it like other adult rifles, so my off hand placement was the best I could do. I shot differing numbers of pellets at each target so I’ll address that when we get to it.

RWS Hobby

First up was the RWS Hobby pellet. Given that this is a Diana rifle I felt RWS pellets had the best chance to be good. Since the Hobby is a wadcutter and it landed at 10 o’clock just outside the bull on the left I saw the first shot clearly without a spotting scope. But I didn’t see shot number two. And when shot three enlarged the first hole ever-so-slightly, I felt that Hobbys were a good choice.  I decided to shoot ten of these.

After 10 shots I had a nice little group just outside the bull. It measures 0.574-inches between centers and is what I would call a keeper.

I have to tell you that the pictures that follow are poor because I wasn’t able to lug out my heavy camera tripod that I normally use. I had to use a flash and hold the camera by hand. None of that is good for these kinds of pictures.

Hobby group
The Diana 23 put 10 RWS Hobbys in 0.574-inches at 10 meters.

Sights are off

I know what you are thinking after seeing that group. The sights need to be adjusted to the right. But the 23 sights don’t have a windage adjustment. They do have dovetails, both front and rear, and it is possible to push either or both sights to make small left or right corrections. But when I examined the front sight I saw that someone had moved it already β€” and to the right, which is in the wrong direction for what I needed with this pellet. You move the front sight in the direction opposite of how you want the pellet to move.

Seeing that I thought I should leave the sights alone, because somebody went to the trouble to put them where they are. They may be right for a certain different pellet and with luck I might find it.

Diana 23 front sight
This top-down photo of the front sight shows that someone has drifted it to the right. You can even see the metal distortion on the left side of the sight base where it was hit with a hammer.

H&N Finale Match Light

The next pellet I tested was the H&N Finale Match Light wadcutter. The first shot hit at 10 o’clock even farther to the left than the Hobbys. When the second shot hit even farther away and opened this group more than the entire first group of Hobbys, I decided to only shoot 5 shots. They made a very horizontal group that measures 0.795-inches between centers.

With open sights a vertical group often means you can’t see the front sight very well. A horizontal group means either the breech joint is loose or you are just shooting a bad pellet for that rifle. The breech joint on this 23 is fine.

Finale Match Light group
Five pellets gave me a very horizontal group that measures 0.795-inches between centers. 

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next I tried 5 RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. I thought they should do well in a Diana, and they did. Five went into 0.509-inches at 10 meters. However, given that the Hobby group is not much larger and was shot with 10 pellets, I don’t think the R10s are any better.

R10 Match Pistol group
The Diana 23 put 5 RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets into a 0.509-inch group at 10 meters.

The R10 is a great pellet for the 23, but it’s costly. Hobbys do just as well so I will stick with them.

RWS Superpoints

How about a non-wadcutter pellet, BB? The 23 is not a 10-meter target rifle, after all. Once again I turned to RWS, whose relationship with Diana has always made the two a good match.

I shot 5 Superpoint pellets and, while the group was larger than the Hobbys or the R10s, it was dead-center! See? That’s what I was looking for. So I went ahead and finished the group with 5 more shots. What I got was not a small group, but it is exactly where we want it to be and it just looks right to me.

Ten RWS Superpoints went into 1.162-inches at 10 meters. If you just go by the numbers it’s a horrible group, but when you look at it, it doesn’t seem so bad.

Superpoint group
Ten RWS Superpoints went into a 1.162-inch group. The number sounds bad, but the group is right where I want it to be. I think it’s good for a plinker.

H&N Match Green

The last pellet I tested is the pure-tin H&N Match Green wadcutter. But on the second shot I could see they weren’t going to group, so I only shot 5 pellets. Five made a 1.349-inch group that was the largest group of the test.

Match Green group
Five H&N Match Green pellets went everywhere! Group measures 1.349-inches.

Discussion

This test brings us to a point that needs discussing. If, after more testing, we find that the Superpoints still hit in the center of the target, but the Hobbys group tighter, do we leave the sights alone and shoot Superpoints or move the sights and shoot Hobbys? I would probably stay with the S-points, but you guys talk amongst yourselves.

Summary

Well, I’m quite happy with this little air rifle. It’s small, has a nice trigger and the power is probably where it should be. For once I bought something that didn’t need to be tuned. I didn’t tell you but I paid $75 for this gem, plus something for shipping. I see them offered all the time at $175 and higher and I think that’s a little high. But at this price I couldn’t pass it up.

One last thing

I’m looking for some oddball airguns to write historical reports on. I would like to purchase these airguns, so at present I’m not looking for loaners. Here is a list of the airguns I am looking for.

  • A Rutten Windstar or any Rutten spring rifle that has the double cocking underlever technology.
  • A Park HR91 or HR93.
  • A Benjamin Rogue.
  • An Erma ELG10.
  • A Walther LP II pistol.

I may want to look inside some of these airguns, so I don’t want loaners. I want to own what I get so I can do with it whatever I want. If you or anyone you know has any of these airguns for sale please contact me at [email protected]

67 thoughts on “Diana 23: Part 3

  1. B.B.,

    I’m glad that the pain level from the fall is going down to a tolerable level. Given the performance of the Superpoint against the Hobby pellets I’d favor to keep the sights as is and learn to shoot this with the Superpoints. There is a tantalizing group over there spoiled only by three shots.

    Continuing to pray for your recovery from your injury.

    Siraniko


  2. BB
    I like the RWS pointed pellets group. I’m thinking you can tighten that up some more. It is a nice round group compared to the other pellets you tested.

    And was wondering if you would have a report tonight. Glad to see you was able to get a report done.


  3. BB
    Forgot to say it looks like that group of RWS pointed pellets had I’ll call 3 flyers.

    I bet that main group is smaller than a inch if you take those 3 flyets out. And maybe do you think you fired more than 10 shots on that group? It just seems the center of the group is missing more paper than it should for that size of group.


  4. BB,

    Before “I” tinkered with the sights “I” might try some RWS Super Domes or Super H-Points. “I” would then try the Hobbys again to make sure which was better. Then the sights would be left alone or adjusted as needed.

    My question becomes how in the world do you keep track of which pellet each airgun likes best?

    Are you looking for a Benjamin Rogue PCP or a Benjamin Rogue sproinger? My guess is the PCP as there is nothing unique about the sproinger. I happen to know where one of the PCPs reside. Is it for sale, I cannot say.

    A few years ago I had an opportunity to get my hands on one of these. It was pretty rusty and the stock was not pretty. It was also missing part of the rear sight. The asking price was pretty high for what I saw, so I declined. I should have tried to trade for it later because I did want it, but that’s OK I guess. It just did not “fit” with the rest of the ladies around here at RRHFWA.





  5. Are you sure that the front sight needs to be moved right? Maybe I’m wrong but the back sight needs to move right. the front sight left. With the front sight on a compound bow, if it’s hitting left you move the front sight to the left.


    • Your are correct, BB got it backwards. You move the front sight in the opposite the direction you want the impact to go. If you are shooting left, move the front sight left to correct impact to the right. It’s Friday, and it
      is and easy mistake to make. Don’t ask me how I know!

      Mike


    • I reread the part about the sights and BB did say it correctly, “…move the front sight in the direction opposite of how you want the pellet to move.” Should’ve know a target shooter like BB would know sights, front and rear. Apologies BB. I bow to your knowledge.


  6. BB

    Consider trying Air Arms 7.87 gr Diabolo Express or JSB 7.87 gr Express pellets. Also JSB 7.33 gr RS. This little fellow might do much better than a half inch with the right pellet. If it were mine I would also try putting it directly on a bag either balanced or against the trigger guard.

    Glad you are able to report today, just take care of yourself.

    Deck


  7. B.B.

    The Diana 23 looks to be a nice little plinker – very similar to my Slavia 618.

    Your report reminds me on how much I enjoy these little rifles – no, they don’t have the power or accuracy of my “main” rifles but they sure are fun to shoot.

    These older guns are well made but rather than looking for a 23, I think that if I was in the market for a springer/plinker I would prefer a new HW 30S. Would like a HW 30S, but don’t need one – for the past 30+ years my FWB124 has been my go-to walk-about and plinking rifle – happy with that!

    Have a good weekend everybody!

    Happy Friday!
    Hank



  8. B.B.,
    Personally, I would just plink with the RWS Superpoints and be happy; it appears they may be the ones to which the previous owner adjusted the sights…nice little rifle; thanks for the interesting report. =>
    Take care & God bless,
    dave


  9. The other night I took a long wander through some of the old blogs, going back 10 years or more. There were some excellent test reports (including those by Earl Macdonald) and some of the general write-ups on the various US versions of Euro guns were quite an education. I quite enjoyed trying to tie in the various Beemans to the respective HW models. BB’s R8 Tyrolean was/ is a cracker.
    The trawl through was quite addictive and I may well do the same tonight. This is a resource like no other.
    Have a speedy recovery, BB, and keep up the good work.

    Drew.



  10. Shootski,

    I missed the quiz Thursday. I must have left class early.

    I had not thought about the reasons, but now that you bring it up I have noticed a proliferation of regulators these days. Even a cheaply made regulator makes it easy to correct sloppy engineering or manufacturing. It was not until very recent times that regulators were offered in the true top end airguns, of course with the exception of 10 meter airguns. Some of those top enders still give you a choice.

    The plenum is a superb method for increasing power without replacing/adjusting the regulator. FX now sells larger plenums for their air rifles. That is how Lloyd turned my Edge into a +10 FPE air rifle. I think with the eighteen inch barrel it would have gone up to or even over 12 FPE.

    That is something I have been considering with the Fortitude. The regulator in it is supposedly not adjustable. The question becomes is it easily removable? Is it just a slip in type? If so, would it be possible to increase the power by inserting a “sleeve” as a spacer before reinserting the regulator, creating a larger volume plenum? These are questions I should pose to Gunfun1 to peak his curiosity. πŸ˜‰

    This is also why I want a Maximus. Not only is it a superb little shooter, it is an excellent platform for experimentation and modification.


    • RidgeRunner,

      I think that could be workable. I agree with Gunfun1 that as long as the design permits it bottle guns with external regulators is the way to go. I believe as the transition to 4,500 PSI cylinders (and higher) continues we will see the need for two stage regulators and perhaps even three stage on really top of the line air powered shooters. We may see an increase in R&D in the basics of regulators specifically for airguns performance needs. From my experience with regulators they are designed from the start for a continuous flowing pressure delivery and not really an optimized design for the sudden high flow demand for a short duration and then a finite volume valve/plenum refill. The two stage would help refine that but a total look at the airgun regulator design may be what we really need.
      I also think the carbon fiber HPA vessel design and form factor (note the non use of cylinder) needs to be looked at. The AirForce cylinder with butt attachment might be okay for some but isn’t nearly as ergonomic as it could be with a shaped stock air vessel made of carbon fiber.

      I hope some Airgun Engineering/R&D department gets smart on the possibilities.

      Sorry for preaching! I am a ZEALOT! And fully recognize my affliction/addiction and know I have been for decades!

      shootski


      • Shootski
        I knew there was at least one person in this whole world that agreed with me about the regulated bottle guns. πŸ˜‰

        But just way to many good reasons to use them over a internal regulator. Way to many reasons.


      • Shootski
        You was talking about the plenum on the other blog.

        Here check out my modded Maximus. Look how big my plenum is before the guns valve. And notice I left the guns air pressure gauge on the gun too. It now reads the guns regulated pressure. If I turn the gun upside down and take a shot and watch the regulator . The pressure drops just for a split second and right back to the regulated pressure. It is a very consistent shooting gun.


        • GF1,
          Are the 13 cu in regulated bottles available with adjustable regulators (1000 – 2500 psi) to allow for tuning? Don’t these bottles need to be hydro tested every 5 years or so, unlike most pcp airgun internal air reservoirs? – Don


          • Don425

            Good question about the 13 cubic inch bottles needing tested every 5 years. Maybe so. But then again that only applies if you take bottles some where to be filled. They have to check if they are still up to date. Well the big bottles anyway. Not sure about the 13 cubic inch bottles. And it could be a safety concern if you don’t test them. So not sure about how that works. Right now all my regulated bottles are about a year and a half to two years old. So I guess I’m ok. And thinking about it. Maybe they needed tested ever 3 years instead of 5 years. Or maybe longer than 5 years. ???

            And the 13 cubic inch regulated bottles can be tuned. Some come wiith coil springs and some with Belleville spring washers. I like the Belleville spring washers the best. You just add or take them away and also you can flip them back to back or face to back for fine tunning. We use them at work for hydraulic return clamps. They work good.



      • Shootski,

        Why apologize for preaching to me? I do it all the time. I for one value your knowledge and experience. I value your opinions, even if I disagree.

        As I do with the buttstock. Once upon a time FX created a buttstock sleeve to go over the bottle in one of their air rifles. It worked quite well for AirForce air rifles and was very popular. Hatsan has a nice version on their Hercules. I think Evanix has used something similar. OK fine.

        Your idea may have some merit, but the manufacture of such would be extremely difficult (read expensive) and likely raise safety and reliability issues. Nobody wants a bomb going off next to their face.

        Would not divers prefer or more streamlined, back hugging tank design? HPA exerts the same pressure to every point of its container, therefore every point must be strong enough to contain it. A radius works better to contain it than a flat surface, hence round cylinders with rounded edges instead of box shaped containers. When you “flatten” the arc, you create a weak point.

        Now, if we were to take a series of progressively shorter air reservoir tubes and fasten them into a recoil pad shaped manifold and have the valve/plenum/regulator assembly similar to that on the Edge in the end of the longest/top tube…


        • RidgeRunner,

          More preaching!

          “Normalization of deviance is the gradual process through which unacceptable practices or standards become acceptable.”

          That is the thing you and I, along with numerous readers of this blog are up against. You like to think beyond the “normal” and look for the innovative.

          “Now, if we were to take a series of progressively shorter air reservoir tubes and fasten them into a recoil pad shaped manifold and have the valve/plenum/regulator assembly similar to that on the Edge in the end of the longest/top tube…”
          Once we get away from the tyranny of the single cylinder we can use strong containing vessels not just in the stock but in the forearm. If we bounce the traditional shape of firearms we have the possibility for ergonomics not seen in shooting pieces to this point. Yes there will be those that can’t see the new form as acceptable (NORMALization) but eventually could bring breakthroughs in shootibility and performance. Maybe it is time to look at the airgun concept making use of available technology and put it on a blank sheet of paper.

          Look at how long it took to get the general airgun community to even try something other than ball or diabolo shaped projectiles!

          shootski


          • Shootski
            You should go to Lloyd Sikes website and check out his double resivoir tube conversions for some of the Benjamin pcps. Some of the kits even have a aluminum tube option.

            Add a regulator to one of those combinations and you would have a very nice set up for the gun.


          • Shootski,

            It is not the number, but the shape of the reservoirs that is the issue. Physics is physics. To safely contain HPA, one must follow these rules. Ideally a round ball is best. An elongated cylinder also works. A stock shaped air vessel? Only to a certain pressure level.



  11. Tom, there is a couple of interesting new CO2 rifles out there to review. The new Umarex Fusion 2, and the Diana Trailscout. Both sre repeaters. Both are said to be very quiet. The Diana takes 3 CO2 cans. The Diana comes in .177 and .22, the Umarex in .177.


  12. Dear Possible-New-Airgunners,
    B.B. does a fantastic job of reviewing all type of airguns; and perhaps you’re been reading his blog for a while now, and thinking about taking the plunge, but you’re just not quite sure yet what you even want to do with an airgun if you got one. To me, the most important thing about airguns is that they are FUN! Years back, when it was impossible to find .22LR ammo, my with bought me a Crosman 1377 from PyramydAir. While .22 LR ammo could not be found, there were plenty of .22 pellets for sale everywhere. Since I had already owned two 1377s, I decided to turn this one into a tricked-out target pistol: 12″ .22 barrel, steel receiver, target rear sight, trigger job, and target thumb rest wooden stocks. It’s beautiful, and I love it; but the truth be told, it was a pretty darn nice gun as it arrived; it was accurate and fun to shoot. While wanting to teach some youngsters to shoot, I needed a light weight carbine, so I bought another Crosman, a 1322, and added the shoulder stock; in order to get the gun to hit the bottom of a soda can at 15 yards, I had to file the front sight thinner (very easy to do; it’s plastic) so it would not cover too much of the target. I also chopped a couple of inches off the shock to make it easier for kids to shoot; interestingly, it also makes it easier to me to use the peep sight (the flip up peep comes on the pistol). With a $10 trigger shoe, I have an awesome little carbine, that set me back less than $100. Three pumps works well in the house on my 5-meter range, and five pumps lets me take down those feral cans on the 15-yard range. On rainy days (like yesterday), when I can’t use my shooting bench, I can shoot from “X marks the spot in my garage and that puts me 15 yards from the cans. I have a lot of airguns that are more expensive than this one, but I find myself shooting it a bunch, an hour yesterday, and another hour or more today. Hence, I would say, if you lean toward pistols, pick up a 1377 or 1322 and just give it a go; if you like it, you can modify it to your heart’s content. But if you are more of a rifle person, you can still get a 1377 or 1322 (I like the .22 just because it sends the cans flying =>), and add the shoulder stock and flip up the peep sight and try your hand at airgunning. If you decide it’s not for you (unlikely =>), you will not be out much money; and if you like it, you can also modify your carbine like crazy. I thought about doing that with this one, but I have been having a blast with it “as is,” and I know a lot of people might want to get into airgunning without spending a fortune, that’s why I wanted to make this comment to tell you, “it can be done!” And you will have fun, trust me. =>
    Blessings to all,
    dave



  13. BB,
    I notice that you said that the trigger on the 23 is ‘direct engagement’ and quite acceptable as to trigger pull. I have a Slavia 618 that is a direct engagement and not so good of a trigger pull. Any suggestions as to how to improve (I’ve tried different lubrication) or is the design (or geometry) just wrong.
    Thanks.
    Bill


  14. Dave,
    I have had this one for a long time (as I recall, I got it for Christmas 1962, when I was 10). I like it, it cocks easy, it hits what you aim at (I really haven’t done much paper punching with it). Velocity in the 350-400 fps range. My only complaint is the long, creepy trigger, but I guess that I can handle that (I have so far).
    Bill


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